The Rogue River Trail, which goes from Grave Creek to Foster Bar, is, for most people, the only hiking trail along the Rogue River. It’s local and national (international?) popularity vastly over-shadows that of the (Upper Rogue River Trail #1034, which runs for ~47 miles from the Crater Rim (or Mazama) Viewpoint to Prospect, Oregon. It’s fair to say that, overall, the Upper trail isn’t as aesthetic as the Rogue River Trail or the Wild Rogue Loop but there are sections (and the Upper is readily amenable to being hiked in sections – which is what we did) that are interesting and unique.
We started our hike to Hamaker Meadows at the Mazama Viewpoint just off Highway 230. There’s a sign here marking the start of the trail, which was thus easy to find – something which is not necessarily true for the trailheads for other sections of the #1034.
We started off through open forest,
on a bluff overlooking the Rogue River. About 0.5 miles from the trailhead, we passed a junction with the Boundary Springs Trail #1057 which you can take to the actual headwaters of the Rogue River.
But this is also where the Rogue River cuts through the ash from the eruption of Mount Mazama some 7,700 years ago,
so along here it’s only possible to catch a glimpse of some of the falls/cascades in the river.
The snow permit requirement was still in place, but there was only one short section of trivial snow along the trail.
A little further along, we could see the ash flow cliffs that block ready access to this section of the river.
After about 5 miles of pleasant wandering through the forest along the bluff,
we descended to the river, which looks so much smaller than it does further downstream.
Along the river, the Forest Service has done a good job of keeping the trail clear of some very large trees – 5+ feet in diameter in this case.
About 6 miles from the trailhead, the river starts to pick-up speed again,
in preparation for its plunge over Rough Rider Falls, the main waterfall feature on this section of the river.
After Rough Rider, the trail continues on along the river,
through a boggy spot,
to a small, unnamed fall about 7 miles from the trailhead.
Then the river slows again as it enters a large meadow complex, where we followed the trail up and away from the river,
and continues through forest to a trailhead on Forest Road 6530 near Hamaker Campground. This trailhead is poorly signed and is easy to miss from the road. It also shares space with an Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) trail which goes left while the #1034 goes right.
Overall, a really pleasant hike (9.3 miles; no elevation gain) with travel through open and riparian forest and good close-ups of two waterfalls. Hikes on the Upper Rogue require stop at Beckie’s Cafe in Union Creek for a piece of their very, very good homemade pie. And so it was…